The reasoning mind is always looking for explanations. It puts together data gathered by the senses into patterns which may be repeated.
The world becomes friendlier if the patterns predict dangers or opportunities which lie in the future. Rules are formulated to control the elements and behaviors with the goal of managing the outer world to benefit the mental world. Predicting and manipulating the future becomes a fascination of the reasoning mind.
Blake gave a lot of thought to developing his character Urizen who represented the reasoning mind as it had assumed dominance in the psyche. In Blake's myth this happened as a result of Urizen exchanging the horses of light for the wine of eternity which belonged to Luvah. Urizen found himself in the position of having lost dominion over the world of thought in return for desire and attachment. He focused, however, not on what he had gained but on what he had lost. He set about exploring, writing rules, and building a world in his own image. If he could control the present, he could make the future predictable in accordance with his limited vision.
When I read of Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem I was reminded of Urizen's unending quest for a system which he completely controlled and with which he could control the behavior of those around him. When Urizen's lost faith in the light he was given in the present, it instilled in him anxiety about the future which was unknown. Blake gave us a portrayal of Urizen going to the edge of chaos seeking "for a joy without pain, For a solid without fluctuation."
These lines are quoted from The Grammatical Man by Jeremy Campbell:
"There is another idea of great importance arising from the Life Game [John Conway]. This is the notion of incompleteness, a famous crux of twentieth-century science and logic...He links them to von Neumann's theory of complexity and also to one of the most revolutionary modern discoveries of logic, the Incompleteness Theorem of Kurt Goedel.
...Goedel's paper does not apply to mathematical logic alone, but touches on much broader questions of the completeness of all formal systems of logic...within the wider meta system there would be other statements which could not be proved without further expansion, and so on without end. Perfect completeness is never reached.
No final, wrapped-up all-inclusive theory of reality will ever be perfected. The nature of language, the forms of logic, the duality of matter beneath the surface we observe, the power of rules to generate new structures, the limits of knowledge, the special character of complex as opposed to simple systems, all point to this conclusion. In this respect, science and art, philosophy and politics, history and psychology, meet on common ground, so that the barriers between the cultures break down under the recognition that all are incomplete and always will be; there is no single discipline or school of thought has a monopoly on the truth.
Book of Urizen, Plate 4, (E 71) "4: From the depths of dark solitude. From The eternal abode in my holiness, Hidden set apart in my stern counsels Reserv'd for the days of futurity, I have sought for a joy without pain, For a solid without fluctuation Why will you die O Eternals? Why live in unquenchable burnings?" Book of Urizen, Plate 10, (E 75) "2. And Urizen (so his eternal name) His prolific delight obscurd more & more In dark secresy hiding in surgeing Sulphureous fluid his phantasies. The Eternal Prophet heavd the dark bellows, And turn'd restless the tongs; and the hammer Incessant beat; forging chains new & new Numb'ring with links. hours, days & years" Four Zoas, Night I, Page 121, (E 300) "But I the labourer of ages whose unwearied hands Are thus deformd with hardness with the sword & with the spear And with the Chisel & the mallet I whose labours vast Order the nations separating family by family Alone enjoy not I alone in misery supreme Ungratified give all my joy unto this Luvah & Vala Then Go O dark futurity I will cast thee forth from these Heavens of my brain nor will I look upon futurity more I cast futurity away & turn my back upon that void Which I have made for lo futurity is in this moment Let Orc consume let Tharmas rage let dark Urthona give All strength to Los & Enitharmon & let Los self-cursd Rend down this fabric as a wall ruind & family extinct Rage Orc Rage Tharmas Urizen no longer curbs your rage So Urizen spoke he shook his snows from off his Shoulders & arose As on a Pyramid of mist his white robes scattering The fleecy white renewd he shook his aged mantles off Into the fires Then glorious bright Exulting in his joy He sounding rose into the heavens in naked majesty In radiant Youth. when Lo like garlands in the Eastern sky When vocal may comes dancing from the East Ahania came Exulting in her flight as when a bubble rises up On to the surface of a lake. Ahania rose in joy" Four Zoas, Night II, Page 27, (E 317) "They have surrounded me with walls of iron & brass, O Lamb Of God clothed in Luvahs garments little knowest thou Of death Eternal that we all go to Eternal Death To our Primeval Chaos in fortuitous concourse of incoherent Discordant principles of Love & Hate I suffer affliction Because I love. for I was love but hatred awakes in me And Urizen who was Faith & Certainty is changd to Doubt The hand of Urizen is upon me because I blotted out That Human delusion to deliver all the sons of God From bondage of the Human form, O first born Son of Light O Urizen my enemy I weep for thy stern ambition But weep in vain O when will you return Vala the Wanderer PAGE 28 These were the words of Luvah patient in afflictions Reasoning from the loins in the unreal forms of Ulros night"
Letters, (E 784) "[To] Mr Linnell, 6 Cirencester Place, Fitzroy Square 25 April 1827 Dear Sir I am going on better Every day as I think both in hea[l]th & in Work I thank you for The Ten Pounds which I recievd from you this Day which shall be put to the best use as also for the prospect of Mr Ottleys advantageous acquaintance I go on without daring to count on Futurity. which I cannot do without Doubt & Fear that ruins Activity & are the greatest hurt to an Artist such as I am. as to Ugolino &c I never supposed that I should sell them my Wife alone is answerable for their having Existed in any finishd State--I am too much attachd to Dante to think much of any thing else--I have Proved the Six Plates & reduced the Fighting Devils ready for the Copper I count myself sufficiently Paid If I live as I now do & only fear that I may be unlucky to my friends & especially that I may not be so to you I am Sincerely yours WILLIAM BLAKE" Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 79, (E 354) "In tortures of dire coldness now a Lake of waters deep Sweeps over thee freezing to solid still thou sitst closd up In that transparent rock as if in joy of thy bright prison Till overburdend with its own weight drawn out thro immensity With a crash breaking across the horrible mass comes down Thundring & hail & frozen iron haild from the Element Rends thy white hair yet thou dost fixd obdurate brooding sit Writing thy books. Anon a cloud filld with a waste of snows Covers thee still obdurate still resolvd & writing still Tho rocks roll oer thee tho floods pour tho winds black as the Sea Cut thee in gashes tho the blood pours down around thy ankles Freezing thy feet to the hard rock still thy pen obdurate Traces the wonders of Futurity in horrible fear of the future I rage furious in the deep for lo my feet & hands are naild To the hard rock or thou shouldst feel my enmity & hate In all the diseases of man falling upon thy grey accursed front Urizen answerd Read my books explore my Constellations Enquire of my Sons & they shall teach thee how to War Enquire of my Daughters who accursd in the dark depths Knead bread of Sorrow by my stern command for I am God Of all this dreadful ruin Rise O daughters at my Stern command" Four Zoas, Night VII, Page (E 373) "Horrible hooks & nets he formd twisting the cords of iron And brass & molten metals cast in hollow globes & bor'd Tubes in petrific steel & rammd combustibles & wheels And chains & pullies fabricated all round the heavens of Los Communing with the Serpent of Orc in dark dissimulation And with the Synagogue of Satan in dark Sanhedrim To undermine the World of Los & tear bright Enitharmon PAGE 101 (SECOND PORTION) To the four winds hopeless of future. All futurity Seems teeming with Endless Destruction never to be repelld Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage Terrified & astonishd Urizen beheld the battle take a form Which he intended not a Shadowy hermaphrodite black & opake The Soldiers namd it Satan but he was yet unformd & vast Hermaphroditic it at length became hiding the Male Within as in a Tabernacle Abominable Deadly The battle howls the terrors fird rage in the work of death" Four Zoas, Noght IX, Page 119, (E 389) "I weary walk in misery & pain For from within my witherd breast grown narrow with my woes The Corn is turnd to thistles & the apples into poison The birds of song to murderous crows My joys to bitter groans PAGE 120 The voices of children in my tents to cries of helpless infants And all exiled from the face of light & shine of morning In this dark world a narrow house I wander up & down I hear Mystery howling in these flames of Consummation When shall the Man of future times become as in days of old O weary life why sit I here & give up all my powers To indolence to the night of death when indolence & mourning Sit hovring over my dark threshold. tho I arise look out And scorn the war within my members yet my heart is weak And my head faint Yet will I look again unto the morning Whence is this sound of rage of Men drinking each others blood Drunk with the smoking gore & red but not with nourishing wine The Eternal Man sat on the Rocks & cried with awful voice O Prince of Light where art thou I behold thee not as once In those Eternal fields in clouds of morning stepping forth With harps & songs where bright Ahania sang before thy face And all thy sons & daughters gatherd round my ample table See you not all this wracking furious confusion Come forth from slumbers of thy cold abstraction come forth Arise to Eternal births shake off thy cold repose Schoolmaster of souls great opposer of change arise That the Eternal worlds may see thy face in peace & joy That thou dread form of Certainty maist sit in town & village While little children play around thy feet in gentle awe Fearing thy frown loving thy smile O Urizen Prince of light"